Richard “RJ” Chulski began his Toastmasters journey in 2011. “Toastmasters is part of my emotional health program,” says RJ. “I’m currently a member of Yawn Patrol, and they’ve got a great reputation.”
RJ has done speeches on diverse topics, including public speaking in a project management context. He finds it most interesting that with the Pathways program, Toastmasters get the chance to give the same speech more than once. “Giving a speech a second time helps with smoothing out nerves,” he said. “I recommend that new Toastmasters speak as often as possible. The more often you do it, the easier it is.”
Applying Speaking Skills with Local Youth
RJ found several interesting situations in which to use his enhanced speaking skills from Toastmasters. “I volunteer for Cub Scouts. Toastmasters helped sharpen my storytelling skills. You need to keep young Scouts in their seats, or you lose their attention! Stories do this well.”
Another area is storybook writing. “I’m writing a book of juvenile fiction aimed at a typical 8th grader. The main character is Mitch Eagan, a very tall young fellow. Each section details a Paul Bunyan-like story of Mitch and his adventures throughout Michigan.” RJ’s book is titled, “Tall Tales of Michigan – Mitch Egan”.
Toastmasters Evaluations and the Meeting Experience
Interestingly, RJ says that the most valuable part of a Toastmasters meeting for him is the evaluations. They force the evaluator to listen carefully. “The evaluator must think deeply and objectively about a speech. Good feedback is essential if you want to improve your speaking and leadership skills.”
RJ believes that the Toastmasters meeting experience can give you more than just skill building. “You make new friends that you wouldn’t otherwise make. And with a corporate club, you have the chance to make allies all around the building.”
Face-to-Face Meetings are Important
In the current hybrid meeting climate, RJ thinks that face-to-face meetings are essential, especially for potential members. “It took a friend of mine several times to get me to my first meeting.” As we know, Toastmasters International has noted that current member referrals are the most popular way to get new members. “Personal contact is an essential part of speaking and leadership,” says RJ.
RJ is currently a member of Lansing Yawn Patrol Toastmasters. “The things we learn and do in Yawn Patrol are good for our members, our members’ work teams, departments and their whole organizations. And our families, too.”